It’s not often I get to work with harpsichord. As someone who performs a fair bit of new (or at least newish) music, the proximity of this wondrous beast is a rare privilege. Fortunately, this all changes on Tuesday, when I’ll be performing a concert with harpsichordist Chris Bagan at the Cellar, as part of Music on Main’s Month of Tuesday series. Chris and I have will present four works by titans of the Baroque era: J.S. BachFrançois Couperin, and G.F. Händel. These are composers who obviously need no introduction, and their music is stratospherically beautiful. In addition to these, we’ve commissioned four new works by Canadian composers, each reflecting on/paying tribute to one of the older works. Composers Cassandra MillerJocelyn MorlockAlfredo Santa Ana, and Edward Top have all contributed fantastic gems that range from darkly mournful to humourously affectionate to all-out demented. It’s been such a pleasure getting to know these pieces, and we’re honoured that Cassandra, Jocelyn, Alfredo, and Edward have taken the time out of their (occasionally hellish) schedules to write these pieces especially for this event.
I’ve been wanting to present a programme of music from the 18th and 21st centuries for a while now. The Baroque and Modern eras of music are two cornerstones of interest for me, at least in part because they are two musical epochs that have suffered neglect from conventional concert programming. The rise of period performance practice, while unquestionably integral and inspiring, has inadvertently robbed us modern instrument performers of a vast treasure trove of repertoire: many performers are afraid to programme music of the 18th century for fear of playing it “wrong”. Likewise, the music of contemporary Canadian composers is often programmed apologetically as short, token works inserted between standard, Romantic warhorses. This concert is a way of addressing these curious facts, but moreover it’s an opportunity to connect with and share some intensely gorgeous music (like Couperin! Why don’t we play more Couperin??). At any rate, I’m deeply indebted to Dave Pay and the folks at Music on Main for allowing us the opportunity to present a programme that  celebrates our musical heritage through a uniquely Canadian lens, and acknowledges our debt to the past while still looking forward.
If you’ve been to the Cellar for A Month of Tuesdays, you know it’s one of the best places in Vancouver to hear classical music: an intimate, informal atmosphere that combines great music, food, drink, and friends (my four favourite things!). Please click  here for more information, and if you’re in the area and would like to come, consider reserving your seat in advance, as concerts on this series do have a tendency to sell out.

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I’ve just returned from an inspiring short-term residency at the Banff Centre: for two weeks Rachel and I were burrowed away in the snow recording our new Tiresias CD, Halos of the Moon. I think it’s safe to say that this was one of the best recording sessions I’ve ever experienced. We had a fantastic pair of technicians, Emma Laín from Spain, and Zhanna Corbett from Lithuania, who managed to get us a beautiful sound and provide us with a warm and relaxed environment (I can get a *tiny* bit stressed once the microphone is on. Just saying). Outside the recording studio, we had a chance to rub elbows with some amazing artists, including the Bozzini Quartet, composer Ana Sokolovic, and choreographer Marc Boivin. All in all, an intense but fun time.

The rest of March features some incredible projects! On March 15, I’ll be performing at HE[A]R, presented by Vancouver New Music. A series of concerts recognizing International Women’s Day, the March 15th event features music by Kaija Saariaho, Dorothy Chang, and Mary Finsterer, as well as percussionist Daniel Tones, soprano Dory Hayley, and electronics wizards Keith Hamel, Bob Pritchard, and Martin Ritter. It takes place at the Waldorf in Vancouver (which, if I’m not mistaken, boasts the last Tiki lounge in the city).

A few days later, on March 20, I’ll be performing for Music on Main’s A Month of Tuesdays with harpsichordist Chris Bagan. We’ll be presenting a delicious programme of Baroque masterpieces by J.S. Bach, G.F. Händel, and F. Couperin, alongside new works commissioned especially for the event by Canadian composers Cassandra Miller, Jocelyn Morlock, Alfredo Santa Ana, and Edward Top. It’s been fascinating to see how each composer approaches the ages-old combination of flute and harpsichord. The results are wonderfully varied, breathtakingly lovely…. and occasionally demented.

Finally, I’ll be off to Victoria for Aventa‘s final concert of the 11/12 season. Taking place on March 25, this concert will premiere two major Canadian works, Dark Matters by Jeffrey Ryan and Tell Tales for piano solo, obbligato horn and ensemble by Michael Oesterle. Uh, now that I look at all this, I suppose I should get off the computer and start practising!